Ask Matt: The More ‘NCIS’ the Merrier? Plus, Miniseries Nostalgia and More

Vanessa Lachey in 'License to Thrill' – After a brazen daytime robbery of a Navy Federal Credit Union, the NCIS team tracks down a group of adrenaline-seeking thieves. Meanwhile, Tennant grows suspicious of Sam Hanna’s reasons for being in Hawai’i
Karen Neal/CBS
NCIS: Hawai'i

Welcome to the Q&A with TV critic — also known to some TV fans as their “TV therapist” — Matt Roush, who’ll try to address whatever you love, loathe, are confused or frustrated or thrilled by in today’s vast TV landscape. (We know background music is too loud, but there’s always closed-captioning.)

One caution: This is a spoiler-free zone, so we won’t be addressing upcoming storylines or developments here unless it’s already common knowledge. Please send your questions and comments to [email protected]. Look for Ask Matt columns on most Tuesdays.

Why Not Wall-to-Wall NCIS on Mondays?

Question: I still can’t believe CBS canceled the Hawaii iteration of NCIS after renewing the mothership and Sydney and picking up the Origins prequel. And they had the perfect opportunity to have an all-NCIS night with all four series, just like with their FBI Tuesdays (and NBC‘s Chicago Wednesdays and Law & Order Thursdays). In other words, they could’ve had the mothership, Origins and Sydney in the fall, and then once Sydney (which would only air for roughly half a season like before) finished its run, Hawaii would take its place in the spring. Did they even realize or consider this at all? — Shon

Matt Roush: I’m afraid you’re sending this question to someone who believes variety is not only the spice of life, but it’s what is lacking most on broadcast network TV during a period when entire nights are swallowed up by franchise spinoffs. Which is to say that I’m OK with the current mix of comedies and drama on CBS’s Monday night lineup. More is not always more. But to address your question in the spirit of an obvious superfan of NCIS, my explanation for why this is happening is more economic than creative. The future of CBS’s parent company has been in question for some time, and keeping all of these versions of NCIS going was apparently not in the cards. I’m as surprised as anyone that NCIS: Hawai’i only lasted three seasons, but that’s their call. I’d be surprised if the network didn’t consider a full night of NCIS action, given the way the industry is going, though CBS has always seemed inclined to spread the wealth to other nights, which is why the Sydney spinoff is currently scheduled to move into the Friday lineup once Blue Bloods finishes its final run at midseason.

Respecting Theater Legends Who’ve Left Us

Question: After most awards shows these days, there’s inevitable griping in your column and elsewhere about how they botched the In Memoriam segment by focusing too much on the performer — or like this year’s Oscars, on a distracting dance routine while names rolled on in the background. Which has made me wondering if you enjoyed the segment on Sunday’s Tony Awards as much as I did. It helped that Nicole Scherzinger delivered a beautiful performance of “What I Did for Love” from A Chorus Line (one of my favorites), but whenever the camera cut back to a close-up of the singer, it stopped the procession of names purposefully, and it all felt more dignified than usual. Do you agree? And did you enjoy the rest of the show? — Rosalie

Matt Roush: It’s always worrisome when a star takes center stage at the start of an In Memoriam tribute, but I agree the Tonys pulled it off quite well this year, pausing whenever it was time for Nicole’s close-ups (which naturally made me wonder about how she’ll fare as Norma Desmond in the Sunset Boulevard revival this season, which famously ends with her close-up).

The rest of the show felt more hit-and-miss than usual, starting with the surprisingly generic opening number. The Tonys are always worth watching for the impassioned speeches, and there were many, but the event is only as good as the shows that are nominated, and this year’s batch of new and revived musicals with a few exceptions felt awfully lackluster in what they presented. (Merrily We Roll Along being the night’s undisputed highlight, as expected.) Being a theater fan, I always enjoy the Tonys, but this year’s show won’t rank for me among the most memorable. Kudos, though, to the In Memoriam segment. (And if they were going to produce a separate salute to the legendary Chita Rivera, which was appropriate, couldn’t they have found time to do the same for the great lyricist/songwriter Sheldon Harnick, who passed away last June at 99, leaving a legacy including Fiddler on the Roof, Fiorello and She Loves Me, among many other classics.)

A Mega Yearning for the Miniseries

Question: Is there a chance we could see the miniseries of old — like Rich Man, Poor Man, North & South, The Winds of War, etc.? What a wonderful way to fill the summer schedule — we miss these great actors. Who owns these shows? – Anna L.

Matt Roush: The studios or production companies that produced these iconic series hold the rights to them in most cases. (Note: I’m not an expert on the nuts and bolts of the syndication and licensing side of TV.) I’ve often been asked that given the proliferation of platforms in the streaming era, why couldn’t there be an outlet (like Turner Classic Movies for film) for miniseries from that golden age to be showcased? I imagine securing the distribution rights for some of these star-laden series would be complicated, and if they’re ever re-released it will most likely be for streaming rather than as network filler during the off-season. (Case in point: the original 1980 Shogun with Richard Chamberlain, originally off the market except for DVD, magically launched on Paramount+ after the success of this year’s FX remake.) I agree, though, that it would be fun to rediscover these series, many of which are only available on old-school DVD.

Can Found Find Its Footing in Season 2?

Question: Considering that NBC’s Found has already been given a 22-episode order for Season 2, how do you think the show can stay continuously fresh and exciting while maintaining a steady balance throughout its longer run? Gabi’s secret is out there to the entire team, AND Sir’s no longer in Gabi’s captivity! There’s a lot of wild cards that could come with this season, and I struggle to think of a way they could stretch this out for a full season order. — Mason N.

Matt Roush: Seems to me like the twists that ended the first season have set the show up quite well for a second. The challenge with any high-concept series that’s also a weekly procedural is how to balance the over-the-top serialized elements (Sir being Gabi’s Hannibal Lecter for instance, plus their backstory) with the weekly self-contained stories. They could probably have kept Sir in the basement for only so long, and same goes for Gabi’s keeping the kidnapping of her kidnapper a secret from her team. I give the showrunners credit for shaking things up before it gets stale. Reinventing a series like this from season to season is the best way to keep things fresh. Check out our latest update on Found’s Season 2, including some intriguing cast additions.

Where Do Streaming Shows Fall on the Emmy Continuum?

Question: When shows are on “the tube” (if we can call flatscreens that), they get Daytime and Primetime Emmy nominations. How can they put made-for-streaming shows under one or the other (since they can be seen at 3 AM, for example)? — Randy K.

Matt Roush: Took me a minute to figure out just what the question was here, and I guess the best answer is that the two different Emmy organizations designate the shows not so much by daypart or platform than by genre. Open-ended and ongoing daytime soaps are a different category than weekly dramas (or, in streaming terms, limited-run seasons that drop all at once), which is how Peacock’s Days of Our Lives (previously on NBC) and Amazon Freevee’s import of the Australian Neighbours ended up competing in the Daytime Emmys. Reality competition and game shows (including the syndicated hits Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune) are all now part of the Primetime Emmy mix, regardless of where and how they air. It’s confusing, but whether a show is syndicated or streaming or airing on broadcast or cable isn’t the issue. The kind of show is what matters.

And Finally …

Question: Thanks for the great job you do on Tuesdays. My question is if The Floor is going to be back this fall season on Fox and if Rob Lowe will continue as host? — Kate in Louisville, KY

Matt Roush: This game show (and its goofy catchphrase “Activate the randomizer”) will be back in the fall. Fox renewed The Floor for two cycles within the next season, with Rob Lowe juggling hosting duties with his star role on the network’s 9-1-1: Lone Star. The new twist going forward is that the floor is getting even more crowded, expanding the grid of contestants to 100 squares.

That’s all for now. We can’t do this without your participation, so please keep sending questions and comments about TV to [email protected] or shoot me a line on X (formerly) Twitter @TVGMMattRoush. (Please include a first name with your question.)